Sunday, November 20, 2005
Savoy...Still No Pay...
Ah, it's been months after I was supposed to be paid by Savoy magazine, and still nothing. About two months ago, I began calling the editor, the one Hermene Hartman, who also publishes a weekly Chicago rag called N'digo. Now, my dealings with Ms. Hartman have been comical to a certain extent. The first time I talked with her, she said that I would be paid by the end of the week. Two ends of the week passed and I decided to give her another call. She couldn't remember having said that. Okay, common mistake. So I gave her another month and then decided to find out when I would receive my check. She then gave me a long explanation about how she had been paying high postal rates and now she was hoping to get a rebate and THEN pay me. I said, okay.
Two months go by, and not a peep. So, I decide to call again. Now this time I think she mistook my name, she called me Mr. Harris a few times. Mr. Harris must be an important person because she was extremely apologetic, which was a change. Normally, she was extremely abrupt and acted like I was really taking a lot of her valuable time from her. But when I corrected her on my name, she went back to her abrupt self. Again, I received the postal excuse.
I got off the phone the last time and became curious. One of the photographers for the Savoy issue is pretty much world famous. I sent him an email and he said that he hadn't been paid and didn't think we'd see a dime from Savoy.
Now this is the point where most folk would say, hey, chalk it up to experience and don't think about it. Write it off as a tax loss and move on. And since I'm a daily advocate of black business (I've kept a weekly journal since I was 15, detailing when and where I spent my money, and how much went to a black business), I would normally do that. But here's the thing. Freelance writers get JACKED all of the time, and we're constantly told to just lump it. I don't think I'm going to do that this time.
As I noted before, Ms. Hartman also runs a weekly. I may send every last one of her advertisers a letter about how financially unstable her publication is. I'm also going to send a letter of protest to the National Association of Black Journalists, which I'm a member. I may also talk to the Chicago Sun-Times and Tribune about this situation. Lastly, I may take her to small claims court and then immediately go to her offices and enforce the judgement.
In plain terms, what Ms. Hartman is doing is stealing. She is promising to pay for work, and once the work was done and used, she is refusing to pay. That's sad. What do y'all think?